One of the other nasty things from the Blair years was Gordon Brown’s IR35 stealth tax. Basically it’s an attempt to fix one real problem, whilst dodging one of the more unjust parts of our tax system.
The thing being dodged is that National Insurance has become, in truth, just another kind of income tax. But NI is only paid on wages, not on company dividends. The rich, the “more equal” people don’t pay it, they get dividends. It’s become another 10% or so tax on the employed workers.
The real problem is that freelancers (like wot I am) are forced by Government legislation to incorporate as Ltd Companies. That means common people, the hoi polloi, can avoid NI just like the rich. This is clearly unacceptable.
But instead of working out a way of making everyone pay a fair tax amount, with appropriate recognition of risks taken by entrepreneurs, they devised a tax system whereby your liability for NI is decided by the IR after you have negotiated your rate and done the job. This produced uproar and led to the formation of IPSE (formerly PCG), the professional body for freelancers and self-employed.
I wrote this parody, which was published in Freelance Informer. Quite a few people said they liked it, so here it is.
The Christmas Turkey Debate at Animal Farm
A parody of the IR35 Stealth Tax
With apologies to Ian Blair (no relation) aka George Orwell
The Minister rose as the speaker of the Assembly of Amimal Farm called her name:
Rt. Hon Ms Gwawr-Goch:
We come now to the issue of the new laws concerning Christmas Turkeys, the socalled Inseason Rooster regulations number 35. I have to tell the House that these proposals have been the target of a completely unjustified and ill-informed campaign by a certain organisation.
Firstly let me say that the government is completely satisfied that these proposals are fair and necessary. On this farm, the animals form a community and we all have to contribute. The sheep contribute their wool to make Christmas presents of woolly cardigans, the cows contribute their milk to make cream and butter, and it is only right that the turkeys should be asked to contribute in an appropriate way just as the animals alongside whom they work contribute in an appropriate way. Their suggestions that this is unfair are preposterous.
The further allegation that we the pigs do not contribute is frankly unacceptable. Such accusations should not even be allowed of a fellow animal. We pigs give our time to the difficult and arduous task of running the administration of this farm, and we are proud of our record of achievement. If this task were not difficult and arduous would all pigs have been given the special exemption from all other work on the Farm. The facts speak for themselves.
Secondly we have considered the criticisms made to us of some of the details of the original proposals. We are glad to say that we can bring forward new proposals, which will insure all animals working in the abattoir will be completely separated from any sights which might upset them, as the turkeys are processed. We can say with pride that the process will be completed humanely, and no animal will suffer any kind of distress.
An opposition member:
Except for the turkeys!
All animals have been consulted, and I must inform my honourable friend that we have consulted with a Mr. Matthew Bernards who is well informed on the turkey issue, and who assures me that he speaks for a large part of the turkey community, in saying that these proposals are welcomed by almost all turkeys.
Only a small minority are causing problems, unfortunately there are rather a lot of them, and they appear to be unable to understand the basic necessities of modern political life. They do not accept for example the necessity to follow your party leader and his policies in every detail. Instead of one party line, they all hold differing views. Their alleged leaders have no authority whatsoever, and have to justify their every action to their followers. That is the only way they can get such unanimous support from their so-called followers. The truth is they are not a properly organised group at all, merely a pack of ringleaders.
That is, may I say, the truth behind their personal attacks upon myself, claiming that I had defied similar legislation in the past. I don’t think such criticisms deserve a reply, but suffice it to say that it was learning exercise for me, which took place under an oppressive regime, without the interests of ordinary animals at heart, which is obviously not the case today.
(Shouts of Hear Hear)
Let me now turn to the claim that there has been no consultation. That is preposterous. All other animals have been consulted, and have agreed to the change, including Mr Matthew Bernards on behalf of the Turkeys. That alone should suggest that we are in the right. As for the suggestion that one of the consultations was actually in progress when the meeting was interrupted with the news that the decisions had been taken, that is simply silly. Of course meetings are always being held and decisions are always being taken, and consultation has to take place, like everything else, within the framework of accepting that our leaders know better than us what we ought to want to have.
It has been suggested that a few turkeys might leave our community, the name of the Nilda McCartney Farm down the road has been mentioned. I think we can ignore this scaremongering tactic. I am quite sure that whatever we do today is being watched with great interest by other farms, and that they will shortly be introducing similar rules.
Lastly it has been suggested that it is improper to give Ministers the right to make regulations up, without regard to the House, as if this way of working somehow took away the right of this House to decide the laws by which we all live. This too is nonsense. The House is asked to decide whether we should all pay a fair share of our tax burden, and it is merely my humble task to decide how best to implement this decision, by making such rules as price per pound, and where the giblets should be put.
Mr Speaker these proposals are fair, and I commend them to the House.